For as long as I can remember I’ve had ONE dream for my life. There have always been constellations of additions to the dream, floating like butterflies gently landing in my heart and then flitting away. All the while, leaving the core of who I am: I have always been a wife and mother.
Just like so many other girls of earlier generations I imagined what and who my husband would be. I imagined our home, our children and the way in which we would love one another. I imagined having a family. I never fully pictured the faces names or types of people they would all be. I simply always left the place in my heart open for the man who would be the man I loved and for the little people that we would bring into our life through that love.
Even as a young kid I can remember thinking it wasn’t ok to want to be “just a mother” as primary goal for my life. My parents were divorced and both deeply unhappy people. My father has been married and divorced four times now. My mother was single the entirety of my child and young adulthood. She did remarry while I was in college to a man who had three daughters of his own. From where I sat (very far from them in another state as well as on another planet emotionally) from my mother; it seemed she had settled for something less than she wanted. She and I have had a deeply strained relationship since I was 14 and I preferred distance and walls for my safety. They both still seemed deeply unhappy. My father even went so far as to tell me that I should never get married.
Thanks to all of that I kept my hearts desire quietly to myself and to a very few friends. I also wanted to do something in my life that would change the lives of other people for the better. I eventually found social work and felt that it was my vocational home. It’s core values mirrored my own. I felt I could do this work as a natural extension of who I was at the heart. I was excited. All the while keeping an eye out for that man who would join me on my journey.
I’ve loved three men in my life with all of my heart. The second of which I loved more than I thought was possible to ever love anyone. I knew exactly who he was, all his cracks and broken-ness. All his weaknesses and strengths. As many of his secrets as I could pry from his guarded heart. I guarded my own just as fiercely out of fear of having it shattered beyond repair . I left him out of fear that I would repeat the mistakes I watched my father make. I was desperate to avoid being a man’s “savior” or have a man try to be mine. There is only One Savior and that is Christ. Leaving him broke my heart but left me feeling I have somehow made progress; moved closer to the man I was meant to find. (Secretly hoping that it would motivate the man I left to become that man b/c I believed he could).
The man I dated after that seemed to be a nice man but was never someone I loved. He was someone, I freely admit, that I used to fill the empty space left in my broken heart. He was verbally and emotionally abusive. It was the quiet kind of abuse that sneaks into you and starts to chip away at all the strength that you build in your soul. For reasons only God will know, this is the man who became the father of the only child I have ever carried in my womb. This fact broke my heart from the beginning but only for the child I carried. I realized that the bad decisions I had made and the weakness that I allowed to keep me with the wrong man will now cost my child a debt she never asked for. She will be burdened for the rest of her life with all the weakness, cruelty and self- centeredness that the man who helped create her keeps in his heart. For me this is as close to an unforgivable sin as can exist in my world.
I left this man. I tried to learn to forgive myself for this failure. I enjoyed each and every second of my pregnancy. I reveled in how I was working hand in hand with the Heavenly Father to craft His child and work at making Good for her out of all of my failures. I prayed constantly. I watched excitedly as my belly grew (as well as the rest of me!) I loved knowing how strong my body was and how strong I knew my baby was. I loved the feel of her kick and the look of my nice round belly. I’d never felt so strong, so rooted, so connected to the creator through the work He was doing in my body and in my heart. My Father loved me back to health. We whispered to each other every night. I shared my fears and failings and He held me and shared His Love and Forgiveness. I shared my dreams for my little family and He shared His strength and His protection for us. I began to grow in confidence. This growth culminated in the birth of the amazing fighting spirit gift that is my daughter Abigail Grayce….
More to come